Western & Eastern Europe is forecast to see minimal or negative GDP growth in 2021.
The protracted & disorganized rollout of vaccinations is a serious problem in many European countries. Europe experiencing 2nd & 3rd wave and COVID remains a serious problem and the new Indian strain present additional challenges.
The UK has so far seen close to 4.3 million cases of COVID & more than 126,000 deaths.
Germany has seen more than 2.7 million COVID cases, resulting in close to 75,000 fatalities.
Spain has experienced more than 3.2 million confirmed cases of COVID & has lost close to 75,000 citizens.
The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has been suspended in Germany, Italy, Spain & other countries. The protracted & disorganized rollout of vaccinations is a serious problem in many European countries.
Poland & the Czech Republic are dealing with a 3rd wave of COVID. Other countries including Germany, Italy, Portugal & France continue to struggle with the COVID virus – look for this to continue for the next 3 to 6 months. The European Union’s vaccination rollout is going so badly that both China & Russia are now approaching individual countries to sell their vaccines.
However, we are starting to see signs that the COVID-19 epidemic is starting to decline in the UK, Sweden, Norway & Denmark.
How the new Brexit trade agreement will impact European construction is still TBD, the UK & the European Union continue to squabble over the terms & conditions of the so called agreement, some industry experts believe the UK will benefit at the expense of both France and Germany.
The COVID-19 virus has negatively impacted the construction sectors of Germany, France, Italy, Spain & the UK. The latest thinking is that these construction sectors will start to see an improvement in the 2nd half of 2021.
Construction work has now gradually resumed on many construction sites across Europe, industrial construction worker productivity is forecast to be reduced due to mandated social distancing and new safety rules.
In the UK, the housing sector is expected to weather the COVID-19 storm, however new retail construction, hotels and office construction will be in the doldrums for at least the next 12 to 18 months. Germany, France and Italy are expected to see a similar situation.
Lots of European construction related organization are looking for future Government funded infrastructure investment in the next couple of months to help in weathering the downturn brought on by the pandemic.
A number of European large and mid-sized construction related organizations have reduced home office staff and site based positions, the current view is that this could amount to between 15% and 25% of current staff levels.
Sweden has been the only major European country not to impose a shut down or social distancing. Worker absence has been somewhat higher, delays of various construction materials have caused some delays. However, at most it has been minor nuisance at a few construction sites. Recent reports from Sweden suggest in hindsight that lockdowns and social distancing should have been introduced like the vast majority of other countries.
The European construction sector has a reasonable chance to grow & succeed in the next 6 to 12 months & return to pre-COVID-19 levels if the virus vaccination program can be rapidly implemented to its 350 million citizens.